The World of Freelancers is as glorious as it is petrifying. We step in through the gates believing that it’s ‘chill’, flexible, and #goals, but are handed an unseen footage of what being an adult actually feels like. Here is a list of things that make us tick, cry, and consider serial-killing as a potential career option:
Companies replying after I’ve completed 7 cycles of birth.
I have a feeling that most clients think we have a shrine dedicated to them. If I reply in an hour, then they reply after a week. If I reply in 2, then they reply in 2 weeks, and so forth. A god must maintain their fashionable distance. Sometimes, I wonder if I should buy them a clock, or 50 clocks, or stuff one right down their oesophagus. That way, their sense of timing cannot leave them.
I mean, do you assign work and then forget about it? Is somebody holding your child hostage and demanding the ransom be paid in 500 unanswered emails? I am worried.
Employers hoping we make gold out of vague descriptions.
“You know, woh, matlab, waise kardo na.”
I have often gotten content projects that just state vague keywords. “Biology”, “intravenous drugs”, “weight enhancement” – what game are we playing? How difficult is it to write one whole sentence? Do you want me to write about the bad effects of weight enhancement? About drugs that can help with it? About anorexia as a generational hazard? WHAT in the name of God, do you want from me?
Wrecking one whole Mahabharat over payment.
We are poor, okay? In case you didn’t know that already. In this economy, only a tiny percentage of people are working for “fun” (I mean 0%). We slog our precious behinds off, stick pins into sleep-deprived eyes, and finish projects that don’t herald prompt responses. We are Rakhee in ‘Karan Arjun’, except, with us, it’s more like, “Mere kaam ke payment ayenge.”
Don’t make us sell our kidney for rent.
Clients using their ‘expert opinion’ to ruin a good product.
Imagine Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’. Then imagine somebody throwing a bucket of green paint on it.
Some clients just have really bad taste.
Client: “We really need to push this event, yaa.”
Freelancer: *writes a nice piece on it*
Client: “How about we take all the nice things out and just leave facts which nobody will read?”
Client (2 weeks later): “It’s not selling well.”
Freelancer: I wonder why.
People believing that even beavers could do a job as easy as ours.
Then why are you mailing me? Hang the goddamn assignment from a tree, na? Wait for a beaver to sit on it and create magic. “Why are you charging so much for writing? Woh toh sab kar lete hai.” “Drawing ke liye paise logi?”
Imagine if Jadoo had stayed back on Earth, and become a Freelance Architect. They’d say, “Tumhara toh dhoop se pet bhar jata hai. Paison ka kya karoge? Building free mein bana do na, please.”
Clients being unnecessarily rude.
Nelson Mandela literally rolls in his grave every time I get a client who thinks I exist solely for their project. I mean, yes, I want your work. Yes, I will deliver it amply within the deadline. But don’t mail me at random points in the day, and expect me to get to it? I have a life. I don’t carry my entire workspace in my pocket. When I’m halfway through a glass of whiskey, the last thing I want to hear is “abhi kar do na”. I mean, come on.
People using the excuse of work to actually flirt with you.
Every time I’ve wanted to vomit, I’ve prayed for their faces to be the bowl.
You think you are discussing work like two normal human beings, until they drop the let’s-talk-over-coffee classic. Some beautiful souls actually do mean just work. But they are a dying species.
A man even went so far as to call me “babe“, and noticing my discomfort, immediately followed it up with an offer to join his company. Ye log aukaad mein nahi, besharmi mein rehna pasand karte hai.
Wielding the currency of ‘exposure’.
When you’re young and inexperienced, you think making contacts, and having a certificate, rank much above being paid for your goddamn labour. My first official internship made me spend 4 hours per day, burying my head into my half-dead laptop, trying to churn out a thousand words. Imagine just starting out in the field, and having to complete 2 projects per day, with zero payment. I was promised that they were a stepping stone; that it would enrich my CV; that beginners can’t be paid, can they?
I had the good sense to leave early. 3 years later, today, that organisation is as good as dead.
Being made to edit or re-do the whole thing without extra payment.
The theory is very simple. If you want a purple wall, then I will give you a purple wall. If I deliver a wrong shade of purple, then the blame is on me, and I will re-do the project for free. However, if you suddenly want red, or yellowish purple, or pinkish insanity on your wall, then you are going to have to shell out those extra notes.
Clients believe that they can beat us to pulp as long as the task is even remotely related to the project. “It’s only one more page”, “It’s just one colour”, “Why are you being so rude?” Madam, naa ka matlab samajhte hai aap?
The uncertainty of life and our whole damn career.
I love my job, okay? Let’s not kid ourselves. Not having to work 9-5 desk jobs is super cool. It’s convenient, it serves more to your comfort, and it’s pretty much fun. But there is always a nagging fear of the future. I might have 7 projects now, and 0 projects next month. There is no certainty, no promise of a fixed income.
In fact, Freelancers generally take on way more projects than they can handle. But we deliver, all the same. Be it at the cost of our mental health; our sanity; our nights out, et all. We charge on.
If you are a Freelancer, then I have hugs in store for you. If you are a newbie, then I’d suggest you grow a strong spine. This community needs it.